DOOM & GLOOM… DISASTER… TRAGEDY… it makes you want to simply say, “ENOUGH!” With everything going on in the world around us, sometimes we might just be tempted to find a hole and hide! Honestly, how are we supposed to live in such a culture of fear? But fear is nothing new, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!”… almost 85 YEARS AGO!
Fear represents a primal instinct, hard-coded right into our DNA. Even before recorded history, we know certain things about the priorities of even the earliest humans. We’ve always sought shelter, as protection from predators we feared – both human and animal. We’ve hunted, gathered, planted, harvested, preserved, and created storehouses for our provisions, right up to our modern refrigerators, freezers and pantries – fearing another of those basic motivators, starvation.
No matter how much we try to avoid it, fear simply cannot be eliminated from the range of human emotions. But… here’s the good news: we CAN still live full, productive and meaningful lives! The key is not allowing our fears to rule our every thought, action or decision. Now, BEFORE you go base-jumping off a mile-high cliff, remember some of our qualms are there for a REASON! God gave us the ability to make well-considered decisions, to weigh the pros and cons. And, if a “whim” carries a HIGH probability of death or life-altering injury, maybe it’s a good time to use those “reasoning” skills.
Pros & Cons
Now, in my case, I have a couple of those “irrational” fears – first among those is HEIGHTS! I get vertigo standing on the top step of my little kitchen ladder. But I decided DECADES ago, I would not let this prevent me from living my life. So, I have found workarounds. Yes, a couple of security guards in well-known “scenic vista” landmarks probably still tell stories about that lady who either stayed flat-back smashed up against a wall or inched her way along the floor! But, by golly, I have been to the top of the Washington Monument, Eiffel Tower, St. Louis Arch, Statue of Liberty and assorted other overlooks.
For me, whenever faced with a “scary” situation – after I finish perspiring, feeling dizzy and holding my breath – I make a calm, rational list. A simple “Pros & Cons” set of columns on a piece of paper. The very act of writing it all down helps me to feel as if I have a measure of control and nothing shuts down fears quite as quickly. At the root of it, most of our fears DO stem from feeling “helpless” in any given situation. That’s why everything from a Kindergarten bully to quitting your job and starting a business, or even jumping out of an airplane, can trigger our fears. We’re relinquishing control!
Facing your fears is the first step to actually controlling them. And, in an interesting twist of irony, today is actually National Face Your Fears Day! Now, am I running out to find a tall building to stand atop? Probably not. But, as we all face the ever-changing landscape of our world, we CAN take a first step to shut down the literal fear-mongering assaulting us daily! And, we don’t have to take that step alone!
The “Be Not Afraid” Promise
Up to this point, I’ve purposely not mentioned a MAJOR “crutch” I use to deal with my particular fears – God. Whenever I start feeling doubts, fears or anxieties, my IMMEDIATE “go-to” is God. First, I ask Him whether this is time for me to make a rational decision. Or… if this is the voice of evil PLANTING these seeds. Regardless of the answer, I always know He is there for me. And this point was recently hammered home for me – again.
One of my spiritual mentors, a wise woman I can always count on for the actual “gospel truth,” mentioned a little tidbit in an online Bible study group. The simplicity left me dumbfounded! While discussing faith and fears, and she casually posted this awe-inspiring fact: “Be Not Afraid” is mentioned 365 times in the Bible. WOW – mind blown! He gives us fresh inspiration to deal with “fear” EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR. He wants to comfort us. He wants to give us dominion. He wants to see us strong, prosperous and happy!
Now, we’re not going to list ALL the scriptures, but would like to offer you a biblical “starting point” on your path to emerge from your fearful “hidey-hole” and begin to experience all the blessings of life. And, as we begin to confront and manage our own fears – real or irrational – let us not forget those who face REAL dangers every day and help them to take their first steps to safety. And, of course, you can ALWAYS join the conversation and find support to deal with your “fears” in our social media communities – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. So, while it may seem easier to just give in to fear, we can also CHOOSE to not let “fear” win!
P.S. You can find a more comprehensive list of protection promises, directly from God’s Word, right here.